The classic No. 2 wood pencil is made with a cedar casing. Cedar is a good wood for fire by friction. It heats fast, but also cools fast, but that’s another blog. The best sharpener for wood pencils is a rotary sickle model. This is the type that is cranked by hand and has a built-in basket to catch the shavings. Many electric sharpeners use sickle blades as well. The office “abo (aboriginal)” can collect this tinder by offering to clean out all the pencil sharpeners which might get some raised eyebrows but will be appreciated by all. The downside is that the graphite powder is a little annoying.
During a lunch break you can take a pair of drugstore reading glasses, 2 1/2 power or higher preferred, and head outdoors for a little solar firecraft practice. You can’t really focus on fluff, so pinch the pencil shavings into a tight clump, then focus the lens on it. When smoke appears, blow lightly and keep the focal point on the edge of the new ember to increase it’s size. To stay focused on the same place may just consume that spot and not build. I’ve also used pencil shavings with a light-bulb filament to start a fire. And of course, a ferrocerium stick works great. If you don’t have a sickle style sharpener, try visiting the local flea market or thrift store and start having some fun.